Sennheiser’s new microphones work well with phones and cameras alike


Sennheiser is introducing some new microphones for creators to use in consumer-grade cameras and phones, including an update for its popular MKE 400 camera-mounted shotgun microphone and new phone-friendly lavaliere microphones.

The updated MKE 400 shotgun microphone appears to be an upgrade in many ways from the previous version – it has a new design, incorporating a windshield (it also comes with a furry windsock), a built-in headphone port, and fortunately can be powered up. or turn off automatically with your camera. It now also comes with a free wind blocker for when it’s windy. That should help reduce the number of times you finish recording, only to find that you didn’t actually capture the audio you expected (something I’ve done before).

The updated MKE 400, with a built-in windshield.
Image: Sennheiser

The previous version of the MKE 400.
Image: Sennheiser

Now it is also designed to work with mobile devices such as phones or tablets; It comes with a standard TRS cable designed for DSLR or mirrorless cameras, as well as a TRRS cable that should work when plugged into a phone’s headphone jack. Or, more likely, a 3.5mm to USB-C or Lightning adapter. With the headphone jack built into the microphone, you should still be able to monitor when shooting with a phone (or with a camera that only has a microphone input and not a headphone output).

The TRS and TRRS cables will make it easy to use the microphone with both phones and cameras.
Image: Sennheiser

The new features should help make the Sennheiser microphone a more compelling competitor to Rode’s latest mics – the earlier version of the MKE 400, lack of auto on / off, and comparatively outdated design made it hard to sell compared to something like a Rode VideoMic Pro. Good to see Sennheiser catch up with the rest of the market.

However, all the MKE 400 upgrades come at a small cost in the battery department: Sennheiser estimated that the old MKE 400 would last 300 hours on a single AAA battery, while the new version only advertises 100 hours of use. of two AAA. The mic still retails for the same $ 199.95.

The USB-C version of the XS Lav.
Image: Sennheiser

Meanwhile, Sennheiser’s new XS Lav microphones are designed to be worn on a shirt collar or lapel and could be useful for creators looking to get better audio, but don’t want to use a large shotgun microphone. Clip-on microphones come in two versions: one with a 3.5mm TRRS connector and one with a USB-C connector for dongleless use with phones or computers. Sennheiser had previously made a lavalier microphone for iPhones that connected via Lightning, but it appears to be no longer widely available. (You can find one that looks eerily similar in Apogee.)

The USB-C version should be the most compatible, as it will be useful for both Android phones and computers with a single audio port (plugging it into a combo headphone jack on, say, a MacBook would make it difficult to use headphones, but you can use the USB-C port instead). IPhone owners will want to see the XS Lav with the 3.5mm jack, although an adapter will be required.

The 3.5mm version costs $ 49.95 and the USB-C version costs $ 59.95; both are less expensive than the $ 79 Rode smartLav Plus.

Both the MKE 400 and the XS Lav USB-C can also be purchased as part of a “Mobile Kit,” which adds $ 30 to the price and includes a small tripod and a phone holder mount.

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